Rumer Willis, Chris Marquette, Brendan Sexton III, Veronica Cartwright, Bruce Altman
Rajeev Nirmalakhandan, Jason Ronstadt
Behind-the-Scenes Featurette; "Six-Letter-Word," a short film about autism starring Rumer Willis
Breaking Glass Pictures
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Picked up for distribution by Philly-based Breaking Glass Pictures, The Odd Way Home is a familiar yet rewarding experience that works largely on the strength of its winning and life-affirming story amidst the brokenness we often experience and the mismatched connections we often make in life.
Maya (Rumer Willis) is a product of childhood abuse who escapes her shattered life in Los Angeles and meets Duncan (Chris Marquette), a young man with autism living a reclusive and ordered life in a tiny town. Socially awkward and unreasonably demanding, Duncan is also a master of map-making and directions, a particularly appropriate skillset considering the unpredictable nature of this journey.
When their paths cross, Maya is forced to learn to care about someone other than herself and Duncan learns to survive in a world he never knew existed.
An official selection at Waterfront Film Festival along with festivals in Austin, Omaha, and Albuquerque, The Odd Way Home is a little gem of a film filled with small yet convincing performances that fit perfectly within the framework of this fairly straightforward yet ultimately warm and hopeful story.
The film's true centerpiece performance is offered by Chris Marquette (The Girl Next Door, Fanboys, Bad Country), whose performance as a young man with autism is so awkwardly honest that it is more than a little difficult to watch at times. As Maya, Willis is tasked with a less complex yet still layered character whose personality borders on histrionic and whose post-traumatic past can't hide the fact that underneath it all there's a good and immensely talented person for whom safety has always been a foreign concept. Willis doesn't yet quite possess the range one might've liked to have seen here, but she matches Marquette's performance quite nicely and the two possess an odd yet believable chemistry. As Maya's ex-boyfriend, Brendan Sexton III gives a memorable performance and both Veronica Cartwright and Bruce Altman are terrific in brief appearances.
The Odd Way Home isn't so much a film about autism, though autism certainly is one of its central themes. The film isn't so much about breaking the abusive cycle, though certainly the idea of "surviving" is at its very core. When it comes down to it, The Odd Way Home is a film about what it means to truly go home and what it means to be family. While it's not a flawless film, it's a film that will likely resonate deeply with those who can identify with its messages about how it's often those people we least expect who truly become our family.
The Odd Way Home is available now from Breaking Glass Pictures.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic